Comuna de Rhiannon – Malchingui in Pictures (part 1)

Hey there. I know that anyone who found my blog yesterday after the ’10 Questions every vegetarian is tired of hearing’ post might be more interested in my vegan-ness posts, so please bear with and I will be posting another soon – it is half written already. Today though, I am going back to good ol’ photography, adding in a sprinkle of travel and making an incredibly nostalgic Ruth (talking about yourself in 3rd person is incredibly underrated!).

I have just spent some time choosing the best photos for this post and to say I’m nostalgic is an understatement. I physically ache to be back in Ecuador and Rhiannon, so sorry if my commentary on these photos gets a bit emotional, and I turn into a bit cheese-ball.

I will be going into more detail about Rhiannon and Ecuador and everything soon, including a post solely dedicated to explaining how you get from Quito to Rhiannon, I’ll explain why later. But this is going to be some of my photos of everyday Rhiannon-life. But just so there is a little context, Rhiannon is a eco-community in Ecuador, run by Helen and Nicky and their daughter Satya who is nearly 2 (she takes a more back-seat right now). They are vegetarian/vegan and all the food served is vegetarian with a vegan option, they use only solar power, recycle everything and generally spend their days being awesome.


My teepee I thought it was fitting to start with my ‘bedroom’ at Rhiannon. This is the teepee I slept in for 10 weeks.  It had 3 beds in and so I shared it with various other volunteers but I slept on the side with the purple flowers you can see painted on. As I traveled more my various beds became quite significant, I suppose we all mentally process our days in our head before we sleep so I feel strong attachment to every place I rested my weary head throughout my trip.  As I am most nostalgic for Rhiannon, this was my favourite bed, plus – I always slept SO well here.

Valentina There are many animals at Rhiannon, when I arrived there were 8 dogs, 5 chickens, 2 donkeys and 1 cat. During my stay they gained a lovely kitten, and shortly after I left they lost one of their lovely dogs who got hit by a taxi. This dog ^ Valentina, also got hit at the same but made a full recovery – YAY! She is a mummy to another dog they have – Matt, and slightly unhinged; she would jump in the water containers every day and rip any ball she could to shreds but when the other dogs went crazy she would sit back and watch them disapprovingly. In short she is awesome, and one morning I caught her post-dunk in the water and she looked disapprovingly at me.

Rhiannon Kitchen The Kitchen. Yes, that is a bicycle wheel holding all the utensils, because that’s what hippy-farms do. At Rhiannon there is no oven, just a couple of gas-hobs and the fire in the living room. They don’t have a conventional fridge either – instead they have ‘an African fridge’ that is just out of shot, this is 2 large terracotta pots inside each other,  with damp sand in between and covered with damp tea-towels. And it works, even in Ecuadorian heat! This photo makes me feel the most nostalgic, the little details like the bowls and cups you can see in the cabinet and the spice rake make me all gooey inside and I feel like I am back there instead of in rainy England. IMG_2941 FAT MATT! Although no longer fat, apparently he was quite the porker as a puppy. Matt was my real favourite dog, I told everyone it was Bairflor who was old and a bit grumpy but no one loved her so I said I did, but really I loved Matt the most. He is huge, and so so pretty, but he had no idea and was such a clumsy idiot, every movement he made was apologetic and he rarely came into the house even though he was the only animal that was born there. Though with Valentina as a mum, he was never going to turn into a fully-functioning, adjusted adult I guess.

What a view! Just look at that view!! This is stood just a few meters form the house, overlooking the rest of the property. The teepee furthest to the left is mine, and if you look half way up the left hand side of the image you can see the brown and white building-thing, that’s the first dome we were building (more on that later). I don’t even know what else to say, I think it says it all really, Ecuador is bloody beautiful! Oh – and those are the Andes you can see, we were living in the middle of the Andes.

IMG_2920 This is Bairflor. As you can see she isn’t the most beautiful creature, although I believe her name translates to ‘beautiful flower’ somewhat ironically. Now I am no longer witnessing her bullying first hand I find it hard to love her, but if when I go back, if she is still bottom in the heap of love then I will start again. I promise!

FIRE! Right outside the house there is a fire-pit, and on special occasions or just when people could be bothered to make one, we had a bonfire. We’d make stick-bread and be serenaded by the musical ones among us and sing and chat and laugh, there was always lots of laughter. One of my most treasured memories at Rhiannon was at Satya’s 1st birthday and a few of us stayed up later than the others, we were sat around the fire until late, chatting about the upcoming San Pedro ceremony. It was at that moment I decided to definitely go for it and give San Pedro a try, which was one of my best decisions ever. Happy Ruth!Christmas morning, I was sat outside the house with some friends and I’d just helped cook the Christmas-morning breakfast and I was so full of happiness I had to express it. Some might have danced, or sung, or shared the news with a friend, I however decided to write ‘HAPPY =)’ in the dirt with my finger and take a photo of it. I was incredibly happy there and all my memories there are filled with happiness, even the ones where I’m not happy make me happy just because I was there and surrounded by the most awesome people. I have more photos I want to share with you but I seem to have made a mega-post out of 8 so I will call this part 1 and follow up with more shortly.